Set within the parameters of Eleonora’s family home in Italy, A Blurry Aftertaste examines family dynamics, domesticity and the role of labour within the domestic sphere. At first glance, the images appear quite subdued in tone, partly attained by Eleonora’s use of black and white photography and introspective eye. But much goes on under the surface. Through a series of performative experiments involving family members and found objects from around her home, Eleonora creates peculiar, theatrical scenes by repurposing household objects and reimagining everyday practices.
In one image, objects are removed from inside the home and regurgitated onto the garden patio in a display of constructed chaos. Placed in this new context, the objects – a set of skis, a pair of garden shears, a ring of car tyres, among others – transform from something meaningful and familiar into something without function and deprived of purpose. In another image, four adults – their precise relation to Eleonora unclear – are positioned at different heights across two sets of ladders. Though they gaze politely toward the camera, the unnaturalness of the scene makes for uncomfortable viewing, a moment where performance and reality and collide.
Much like a game of role-play, Eleonora’s use of performance in photography gives her space to ask her own questions in a way that documentary photography does not. By introducing tasks for family members to carry out, Eleonora is able to examine conflicting moods and tensions and recreate new memories within the borders of the home. ‘I was interested in the idea of a collaboration between family members, to help me explore notions of comfort, tension and labour. A performative way of working allows me to express ideas more freely and to introduce elements of absurdity and humour in my images, and to investigate what we know as human beings.’
It is not the objects and materials alone that reference labour practices, but the ways in which they are assembled and arranged within the frame. After emptying the contents of her home onto the backyard, Eleonora and her parents built a structure together, which involved considerable physical effort and time. This durational aspect of the project is a factor that is inherent to the practice of labour. ‘I was concerned in underlining the process of domestic labour, how the home functions, and the relationship between labour and leisure. Labour in A Blurry Aftertaste is very much related to the concept of time, how we spend our time and how we decide to fill the time that we have.’